Doing Christmas differently

This festive season, ditch the frenzied Christmas shopping, bring some corn for popping and let us go, let us go, let us go!

Christmas: you’ve heard the sentiments – a time for loving and giving and joy and togetherness. But somehow along the way the true meaning of Christmas can often get lost; we find ourselves frazzled and fretting about buying the perfect gifts or producing a feast worthy of your most discerning guest’s approval and all too soon the excitement is gone.

We’re also all very aware that preparing Christmas can be more like planning a military operation; those of us who strive for perfection can often spend weeks or even months talking turkey in order to provide our loved ones with the ultimate Christmas.

2018: Time to rewrite the rules

Edinburgh snow

This winter season, it’s time to do things differently; take the reindeer by the antlers, give sprouts the heave-ho-ho-ho and produce the kind of Christmas you’ve always dreamed of inspired by all of those fuzzy feel-good movies.

Give the Mr or Mrs Claus in your house a proper break and let help you find your perfect Christmas in a home away from home. Not only will you give Christmas a completely different twist, but maybe just for once you’ll get to re-discover the magic, leave those old traditions at the door and Christmas like the kids.

Being present, not buying presents

Christmas together

It is thought that the average Christmas costs between a staggering £750 and £1500 per adult - so why not put that money to good use and invest in the best Christmas present that money can buy and the whole family can enjoy: a break in one of our hand-picked holiday homes.  Whether you choose a quirky cottage, luxurious lodge or rural retreat we can guarantee that Christmas will be the most wonderful time of the year.

And with our fabulous selection of large cottages that sleep upwards of eight guests, there’s no reason why your great-aunty Phyllis can’t fall asleep and snore in one of our cottage armchairs after four sherries and the Queen’s speech rather than your front room.  In fact, why not make the cottage the perfect Christmas present for the whole family and give the gift of togetherness this year?

Escaping the muddle: Christmas in a cottage

Gingerbread House
Cosy up in the Gingerbread Cottage - ideal for Christmas!

As well as really feeling like you’re on holiday, spending Christmas in a holiday cottage comes with a wealth of benefits which you may not have even considered. Because you are in a completely new location, you can throw caution to the wind and abandon the routine. Keep your jammies on until lunch, have chocolate biscuits for breakfast and allow the kids to decide when they are ready to go to bed.  Okay, maybe not the last one – you haven’t completely taken leave of your senses, but you get the gist!

Not only this, but you get a whole new set of surroundings to explore, you don’t worry about upsetting the neighbours and you finally get to truly relax rather than thinking about those chores and jobs that you’ve been putting off all year.

Now you could elect to spend the festivities in a beautiful hotel setting, but where’s the fun in that?  With one of our great properties you can: enjoy sprawling in your own space; test drive a state of the art kitchen - in the middle of the night if you want to; enjoy a decorated house without having to go near a bauble yourself; there’s no surprising outlandish last-minute bills and hopefully you’ll get a better view than a brick wall and a pigeon.

It’s your space to relax and indulge in, making as much festive noise as you want to!

Cook up some Christmas hullabaloo

Kids baking
Baking is always great fun for kids!

Cooking with the kids can be a joyful experience and a really relaxing way to spend some time together with the added bonus of edible goodies at the end. However, let’s face it, we’re not all Mary Berry in the kitchen and the thought of children + icing sugar and flour = disaster may make us recoil in horror, but let’s just remember – it’s not our house!  Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without making a mess, and who knows, you might even produce a festive bake or a Santa snack worthy of a Hollywood handshake. Take a look at some of our inspirational child-friendly recipes below:

Making Christmas magical   

Magical Christmas
Walk past views of the Cotswolds countryside

Not be at home this Christmas surrounded by sprouts and socks? Wait, isn’t that against the ‘laws of Christmas’? Probably, but remember it’s about doing it all differently this festive season so here are some suggestions about things to do with your little humans in preparation for HIS BIG ARRIVAL.

‘But mummy!’ you hear your children wail, ‘how will Father Christmas find us?’  Never fear. The craft box is here and so is Uncle Dave; get the kids together to make a magic key so should you discover your holiday cottage doesn’t have a chimney or you’ve inadvertently lit a fire underneath Santa’s primary escape route, then the kids can rest assured that Father Christmas’ annual world marathon won’t be delayed.

Next on the list to adding a little sparkle is a trip in the great outdoors … in the dark.  What could be better to spark the imagination than exploring the treasures that this brand new neighbourhood has to offer. Wrap up warm, grab your wellies (or the car keys if you’re a bit more remote) and spend some family fun time spotting the best Christmas lights in the vicinity.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house…no one would go to bed

Jumping on the bed

Once back to your cosy property it’s time to get those pyjamas on (if you haven’t already), light the fire and peel the kids off the ceiling with a Christmas story. This is a great time for creativity, so either plumb the depths of your imagination and create a magical story of your very own or arrive well-prepared with a brand new story you have chosen together.

Once you’ve achieved seasonal serenity(!) Lay out the stockings and the snacks and snuggle down to wait for stockings to be filled.

Making Christmas memorable

Memorable Christmas
Enjoy an unforgettable Christmas

‘Tis definitely the season to be jolly and definitely a time to throw off those old traditions - we’re talking about creating memories and not excess rubbish. After the presents have been opened, and the marvellous feast eaten, why not indulge in some (or all) of these suggestions to make your Christmas Day memorable:

  • Wrap up warm and take a wander in your wellies to wherever the mood takes you.

  • Grab a camera, get outdoors and try to capture some of the area’s best wildlife in a beautiful winter setting.

  • Brave the freezing temperatures and plunge yourself into icy waters for a festive swim.

  • Get active with a bracing coastal walk, beach stroll or a surf if you’re lucky enough to be in one of our South West properties.

  • Blow away the cobwebs on a hike across rugged moorland or rolling countryside.


Christmas day walk

Families of four and above are simply made for playing games so instead of switching on the TV for a festive binge too early and as a way of diverting everyone from antisocial screen time, why not consider some of the following activities for a bit of indoor family fun once you’ve warmed up from your outdoor exploits:

  • Teach your loved ones to play a card game or indulge in some good old-fashioned bickering over a game of Monopoly

  • Invent a Christmas quiz for the whole family - losers have to do the washing up…

  • Challenge each other to some of the best family board games: some of our properties even have a selection of toys and activities so have a rummage in the cupboards or check out some of the recommended best family board games around and stir up a bit of sibling rivalry! 

  • Rustle up a game of pin the nose on the reindeer (or draw a nose on Grandad if he’s nodded off.)

  • Make a gingerbread house with all the trimmings

Once you’ve exhausted this list, it’s probably time to grab a duvet, a mug of hot chocolate and the Christmas nibbles and snuggle up in front of a great Christmas movie. After all, there are some traditions that simply cannot be missed.

So there’s a not-quite-so-traditional Christmas all wrapped up, and remember it’s not too late to book a cottage for Christmas … or perhaps write to Santa and put it on your wish list for next year. Take a look at our selection of festive getaways, because you deserve to Christmas like the kids.

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas from us at!


Posted by Sam T on 19th October 2018